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Zalazar and Marmoush: a match made in Hamburg

Living thousands of miles away from home, friends and family is not always easy for Omar Marmoush, 22, and Rodrigo Zalazar, 21. Yet the distance is what bonds them. In this interview, we learn all about a friendship that has blossomed very quickly.

Hi guys! Rodrigo, after the winning goal at Heidenheim, you celebrated with a special gesture known only to the two of you. Can you enlighten us as to what it was all about?

Zalazar: We talked about a celebration before the Heidenheim game but we didn't go through with it to the end. We'll do that in the next game.

Marmoush: I hope so.

You haven't known each other that long, but it seems you became bosom buddies right away.

Marmoush: When I joined the club, Rodrigo came up to me straightaway. I soon realised we were going to be mates. We spend a lot of time together because neither of us has family here. I'd say he's more like a brother to me right now.

Zalazar: Omar often comes round my place and we eat together or play PlayStation. For me, it's important to have someone like him in the squad to spend time with and do fun things. 

And who's better on the PlayStation? 

Zalazar: Omar is better at FIFA, but I'm better at Fortnite.

Is that right, Omar?

Marmoush: Yes, definitely. But I'm going to practise Fortnite (he laughs).  

A special celebration: Zalazar after the 4-3 winner at Heidenheim.

A special celebration: Zalazar after the 4-3 winner at Heidenheim.

Football is the national sport in both Egypt and Uruguay. How did you get started? 

Zalazar: Football is simply a cool sport, my dad taught me everything when I was still a young lad.

Marmoush: Football is played everywhere you go in Egypt, it's the most popular sport. When I was little, I played with my mates in the street, but I was with a club as well. I've been playing football ever since.

The Egyptian players in Europe seem to be very close. At your unveiling you said you'd already been in touch with Liverpool's Mohamed Salah.  

Marmoush: Yes, the contact between the Egyptian players in Europe is very good. We try to support each other because we know it isn't easy to make the transition to Europe.

Rodrigo, you mentioned your father, José Luis, a moment ago. He also played the game professionally. How important was he for your development? 

Zalazar: I was very lucky that my father was a professional footballer. He knows everything there is to know about the game and always had new things to teach me. It was good for me that he could pass on that experience.  

Your parent clubs are among the in-form teams in the Bundesliga at the moment. Are you still in touch with your teammates?  

Zalazar: Of course. I'm still in touch with some of the Frankfurt players. I try to keep up with the games and am obviously happy when they win.

Marmoush: I'm in touch with more than half the team. They want to know how I'm doing here. My teammates are friends who made me feel really welcome and explained what the boss expects of me. I watch every game and hope the lads qualify for the Champions League.  

Does it make a difference that you're 'only' on loan to St. Pauli from other clubs?  

Marmoush: It might make a difference for other players but not for me. I might be on loan from Wolfsburg, but I'll do everything I can to make this team successful. I'm at St. Pauli now and that's where my focus lies.

Zalazar: I am happy to be here and there's so much I can learn. I'm getting a lot of playing time and gaining lots of experience.

We can see how much you're enjoying things at the moment. Is there a strength of Omar's you'd like to have yourself, Rodrigo?  

Zalazar: He's a great cook (he laughs). On the pitch, Omar is a great player with lots of qualities, but what I like most of all is his pace on the ball.

The same question for you, Omar.

Marmoush: Rodrigo is a top player in my opinion. He has incredible spirit, he's a fighter who does everything for the team. He runs, fights and has a good finish on him as well.

Marmoush: "I'm at St. Pauli now and that's where my focus lies."

Marmoush: "I'm at St. Pauli now and that's where my focus lies."

Omar, Rodrigo, thanks very much for speaking to us!


Photos: FC St. Pauli/Witters


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